A field watch is for the tough guy. A rugged piece meant to withstand the worst, the military origins of field watches are explanation enough of their intended purpose. Now, however, these watches have expanded to the workplace, the home, and the bar. Another key asset in any man’s arsenal is a quality field watch. Fortunately enough, the watch game does not always require deep pockets. A good connoisseur judges value above all, and here we have it. These watches are sturdy, effective, and well-made. To indulge in your enthusiasm here, you do not need to sink into a four, nor even three, figure sum. That is because each of these field watches is available for less than $100.
|Watch||Size||Water Resistance||Movement||Price Point|
|42mm||330 Feet||Swiss Quartz||$$|
Seiko SNK809 Seiko 5
The first determinant of a watch’s durability is, of course, its case. Seiko has made a solid choice here, opting for stainless steel as the main component. This matches well, as the stainless steel, stationary bezel follows suit. This watch keeps a low profile with a case size of only 36 mm and a thickness of 11mm. The band has a similar effect, staying at only 17mm wide. It is made of practically un-tearable nylon, and is thick for maximum comfort and durability. Continuing the blasted stainless steel theme are the buckle and the strap rings. These, too, are made to withstand the worst. Close spacing allows one to have firm control over watch tightness to prevent any possibility of slipping or sliding.
The dial window is composed of hardlex, which is Seiko’s exclusive hardened mineral crystal material. It is extremely flexible, and designed to withstand impact well- the perfect asset for the dial window of a field watch. Far less expensive than a diving watch, this has one third of an average diving watches water resistance. The SNK stays waterproof for 100 feet, or ~30 meters. Consequently, it can be used for snorkeling as opposed to serious diving. Surprisingly, the SNK weighs just over two ounces. Wearing the watch, which can withstand so much, means you can barely feel it. In addition, the SNK is priced at just over one half of our budget, making it extremely affordable. All in all, with the Seiko SNK809 you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Citizen BM8180-03E Eco-Drive
Citizen is a solid, Japanese company with a good history of delivering high-quality products. This imported beauty is as durable as it is stylish, with well designed parts all around. A date window is cleverly placed on the black dial in lieu of a number three, and gets passed over by three luminous hands. These hands are minimalist to accompany inset hour markers, and the watch has high-contrast markers. The red second hand has a luminescent tip for visibility in darkness, and is not the only thing that does. The other two hands, as well as the arabic numerals, do the same- at high, legible quality.
It has a tremendously thin case, at only 9mm, and has another dimension, case diameter, closely comparable to the Seiko SNK809: 37mm. Also stainless steel, it does its job. The movement on this watch is unique, Japanese-quartz automatic. The Eco-Drive movement system has been specially designed by Citizen, and is exclusive to the brand. The innovation, “powered by light,” uses any light to power Citizen’s watches. First created in 1976, Citizen timepieces were the only ones to run on pure light. Consequently, this watch is tremendously low maintenance- no batteries need replacing, there is no clunky power gauge, and your arm will not get tired from any winding or charging. On a full charge, the Citizen BM8180 will keep on ticking for around eight whole months. Light entering the mineral dial window is stored in a power cell right below it and used to keep the movement going.
The Citizen hugs to your wrist via a band of stitched canvas, which, although a little stiff and water-retentive, comes too with closely spaced rivets to improve adaptability. This watch has tremendously impressive water resistance, staying useful for 100 meters (330 feet), which is the starting point, as we have previously mentioned, for many high-end diving watches. Unfortunately, the BM8180 is not officially suitable for diving, but it will still tackle snorkeling and swimming with no issue. Ultimately, the BM8180 is a high-quality field watch at a wonderful price.
Timex T49961 Expedition Scout 40
The Scout 40, by Timex, is one of the larger watches in our collection. Its case thickness, at 11mm, mirrors the Seiko SNK809’s. It’s case diameter, however, is noticeably larger, breaking the 40mm mark. Attached to the case is a stationary, black bezel, made of brass. The bezel encircles a mineral glass lens window, which protects the full Arabic dial markings and the hands. It runs on analog quartz movement and has impressive water resistance for a field watch, 50 meters, or 165 feet. It uses a buckle clasp and a standard length, 20mm wide, nylon strap.
As far as illumination goes, this watch is an interesting proposition. While it lacks specifically luminous hands, Timex has innovated a unique solution. The Scout 40 is equipped with Timex’s INDIGLO system, which has been an asset to Timex watches for the past 25 years. INDIGLO is an electroluminescent panel that backlights the dial of the Scout 40 in a green-blue shade for maximum visibility in the darkness. It is heavier than our other choices so far, at 3.2 ounces. Regarding final thoughts, Timex managed to say it as well as we can. This watch is “everything you need and nothing you don’t.”
Seiko SNE331 Core
Seiko, one of our favorite Japanese companies, here makes another entry onto the list. This watch, the SNE331, just sneaks into our budget as a result of a very generous discount. It is a large, solar powered number. The SNE331 is a whopping 43mm wide, and uses Seiko’s scratch resistant, previously mentioned Hardlex mineral crystal material in its lense for effective impact resistance. It is comparatively thin, however, at only 10.7 mm. The black dial plays background to stencil-styled numerals at three, six, nine and twelve. Between these sit stick numerals to represent the remaining numbers, as well as smaller sticks between each hour at twelve minute intervals. The SNE331 has date and day functionality, too, in a window located by the three hour mark.
As field watches in this price range go, Seiko has done their duty. The analog quartz, Japanese movement is by no means the only impressive feature on this timepiece, nor are the luminescent hands, the stationary stainless steel bezel, or the pull-push crown. The 25mm wide band, noticeably wider than others, is made of tough nylon and comes equipped with a tang clasp so that the watch will never leave your wrist without your intention. Impressively, the watch is water resistant for 100m, or 330 feet. This equals the Citizen BM8180, reaching the starting point for many more expensive diving watches. Seiko has, once again, made an impressive venture into the realm of field watches.
Bertucci A-1S Field Watch
Bertucci Performance Field Watches, as they are known, live up to their lofty title. The company focuses solely on field watch production, and has been maintaining excellence for the past thirteen years, so it is safe to say that the craftsmen at Bertucci know what they are doing. To labor the point, each Bertucci watch face comes with a full three year warranty; Bertucci bands are protected for one year. These guarantees come under the Promise Of Performance™, which is Bertucci’s guarantee to high quality design, production and inspection. For a watch under $100, these safety measures alone are well worth the investment.
Despite being relatively thick, at 12.2mm, this timepiece stays particularly low-key, at just 36mm wide, and has a brushed, solid, stainless steel case designed with a high level of durability in mind. Also created under this mentality is a US patented two ply nylon band that wraps around the wrist at 19.1mm wide. Box stitch manufacturing, involving all metal grommets and hardware, make sure that this watch will not fall apart anytime soon. The dial window is made of scratch resistant, hardened mineral glass crystal. The A-1s is another heavy hitter when it comes to water resistance, maxing out at 100 meters or 330 feet, and is light at only 2.08 ounces. The Japanese quartz movement is reliable and precise. Simply put, Bertucci watches are made to last. This watch will not let you down
Wenger Swiss 01.0441.117 Field Classic
Wenger brings us back to basics. This piece, their classic field watch, uses original Swiss quartz movement, and the familiar Swiss cross sitting on the dial, above their logo, in lieu of a number twelve, reminds us so. The watch keeps, by no means, a low profile, because it sits on the wrist in brilliant white at 42mm wide. It is designed for high visibility, with its luminous hands, stainless steel stationary bezel, and pearly sheen, so it does not disappoint. A deviation from our other choices, the Wenger’s 20mm wide, black band is in fact made of silicone. This ensures that it hugs the wrist snugly, held in place by a sturdy buckle clasp.
Another piece with the highly respectable 100 meter/330 foot water resistance property, the visuals of this watch are protected by a highly protective mineral dial window. Barring the red second hand, The Wenger’s hands are black with an inner white accent. These luminous hands point to luminous Arabic numerals of a similar design, and they only add to the stylish visibility of this timepiece. As field watches go, the Wenger Classic is a real looker. At this price, around half of our budget, it should definitely not be slept on.
Momentum St Moritz corp Steelix
The St. Moritz Steelix, under the Momentum line, just brushes our price barrier- and rightly so. This timepiece blows our other watches out of the water in several regards. First of all, it is water resistant for 200 meters, or 655 feet, which is twice that of its closest competitors in this list. Its hands and markers are, of course, luminous, with creative ultrawide tips composing their innovative design. They point to alternating Arabic numerals and stick markers, which are luminous. Japanese Quartz Analog movement keeps the Steelix ticking. It is heavy, at 3.2 ounces, and has 3-5 years of power in its Silver Oxide Cell battery. The dial window is composed of mineral crystal which has been heat-tempered and treated to be anti-glare. This results in a very impervious timepiece.
Adding to its impressiveness, this watch is the largest of our compilation. It lords over the others at 44mm of diameter, yet manages to stay just 10mm thick. The Nylon band is 22mm thick, and is nicknamed “Web,” the Momentum version of the “Nato” watch band style. At the end of this durable band sits a Momentum clasp made of heavy-duty steel. The band itself is easy to change with basic tools, and is machine washable. The watch is designed to be used, and can take whatever is thrown at it. Designed for performance, the Momentum Steelix is worth it.
As a rule, the person buying a field watch is full of common sense and has heaps of practicality. Accompanying these two traits tends to be smart frugality, which is why we created the price barrier of $100. We searched, we scoured, and we are proud of the seven watches we have found. They are well-priced, they are durable, they are well made, and they will get the job done. The material choice and manufacture, above all, determines a watches durability, so our seven timepieces do not disappoint. A field watch wearer knows that they are getting themselves into, and these watches do not mess around. Best of all, these come in a range of appealing styles- who ever said sturdy can’t look good?